Ten Hag explains tactical thinking

Sunday 29 October 2023 19:23

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has explained the tactical thinking behind his defensive selection for the defeat to City in the derby.

The Reds were undone by an Erling Haaland penalty in the first half, following a VAR intervention for a pull by Rasmus Hojlund on Rodri inside the box as they jostled while the ball was in the air.

The boss offered no comment on that incident but felt his team defended well in the first half, only to be punished when out of shape after the break for Haaland's second, a header, with Phil Foden later adding a third from close range.

Ten Hag's post-match press conference Video

Ten Hag's post-match press conference

The manager addressed the media after the meeting with Manchester City at Old Trafford...

During his post-match press conference, journalists asked the manager why he made changes to his backline, with Jonny Evans coming in to partner Harry Maguire. Meanwhile, Victor Lindelof started at left-back, in place of Sergio Reguilon.

"They played very well, I think, the centre," said Ten Hag. "With [Andre] Onana, they played a very good game. Just what I expected.

"You know they [City] will come press us and no-one can actually be surprised. I said it from the beginning, I need the players on the left side who can make angles and also to step in and, especially against City, with the side they press us, you have to step in to get the press on them and I think they did this very well."

When pressed on the tactical decision, the boss answered: "When you face City, they will go up to press and then to play with Rapha [Varane, on the right] and Maguire over the left, that can give problems and then you end up only kicking long balls.

"He is, for me, better on the right, Harry, especially against teams pressing high and, second, is you have to step in over that side and that was our tactic - to step in over [Julian] Alvarez and get Sofyan [Amrabat] higher to get [the] press on their build-up and that's why."